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Questers
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Postby Questers » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:46 pm

Erinsburg
March 15

Karin had got her things together and was about to walk out of the office when the clerk stopped her. ‘Sorry Mrs. Hagen. Oskar wanted to see you before you left.’

Karin turned back and popped her head into Oskar’s office. ‘Sorry Oskar. It’s just that I wanted to pick Dag up from the creche before the s-bahn gets too crowded.’

Oskar didn’t say anything to that. He was playing with his new toy – a little zen garden – pushing sand around a rock with a miniature rake. His last obsession, a large rubber plant, sat, exiled, in the corner of the office. Karin’s first thought was that the zen garden was going to join it soon enough.

‘New file just came in for you. It’s on the desk. Take it and have a look on the s-bahn. Big one.’

‘O-kay…’ Karin said. ‘Anything else?’

Oskar didn’t say anything at all, just raked away, so Karin took the file – one foot still in the doorway – and left. Frogner station was empty, and so Karin got two seats on the train all her herself. Leafing through the files, she didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.

Parents dead. Child under the age of eleven. Application from the Office of the Public Guardian for state stewardship with a view to relocation and blah blah blah.

The train spoke: Next stop, Sagene Bogstad. Karin went to stand up, but her curiosity got the better of her. If Oskar had said it was a big one, there must be something about it.

The examiner’s report was the next page. Profound mental retardation. Child intelligence battery estimating quotient range from 39 to 59. Microcephaly arising from suspected fetal alcohol syndrome. Karin let out a tiny prayer to a God she didn’t really believe in, and kept reading. Sagene Bogstad flew by and by.

Ethnicity, Wolo – genetic testing reporting no admixture. The child has been baptised into the Church. Karin whistled. Okay. There it was then. She got off at the next stop, aware of the time, and took the train going in the opposite direction. It would give her more time to read the file, at least.

March 17

The zen garden was sitting next to the rubber tree now, rejected. Oskar had his hands folded instead. ‘So, are you going to take it? I have to know soon.’

‘I don’t know. It looks depressing. Why won’t the family take him?’

‘Boy’s Oswinite,’ Oskar said. ‘Family won’t touch him. Soiled goods so to speak. It’s probably just an excuse. Those people will do anything to wash their hands of responsibility. He’s going to cost the state a lot of money for the rest of his life.’

‘Does the Public Guardian have a family lined up for him?’

Oskar laughed. ‘What do you think?’

‘Because it seems to me there’s a case that the family has to take him in.’

‘They’re not technically family. They’re saying that they disowned the parents when they converted. Not much we can do about that, really. So are you taking it or not?’

‘I want to see the kid. Where is he now?’

‘Erm, don’t think that’s going to be possible Karin. He’s in protected custody. The Public Guardian thinks his family is liable to try and knock him off. Honour killing or something.’

‘Set it up and I’ll take the case. I can’t imagine how much they’re paying us for this one. It’s not like any other firm is going to pick it up.’

Oskar sighed through his nose and it made his big grey moustache move.

‘Fine.’

In fact, it only took Oskar one phone call to arrange the meet. Clearly, Karin was on to something. Or, perhaps, Oskar had been exaggerating; the single-story flat in Gamle was only protected by one policeman, who was sat on the sofa playing playstation when Karin arrived. Miniature football players ran about on a screen.

The boy sat watching intently, staring, pixels bouncing off his eyes. The social worker who had taken Karin there introduced him.

‘This is Elias,’ she said. ‘Say hi, Elias.’

Karin leaned over to get a look at him, but he ignored her, looking only on the screen. ‘Hello,’ she said. ‘Can you tell me your name?’ He turned to look at her, and she caught the shape of his skull; sloped, and hairless, shining under the white light. He stared at her face.

‘Tell the nice lady your name, Elias,’ the social worker said.

He mouthed something, but no words came out. He tried again. ‘Elly,’ he said, finally.

‘How old are you, Elly?’ Karin asked.

He didn’t say anything. Black eyes rolled in heavily set sockets. He put a finger in his mouth, slowly, and then took it out again. Perhaps a ritual, a safety code, Karin thought – or perhaps, nothing at all; just the spasm of a dying mind.

She went into the kitchen with the social worker, who poured two cups of coffee. Karin leaned on the counter. ‘Will he get better, ever?’

‘With a lot of therapy, and a lot of money, and a lot of time, and a lot of luck, yes, maybe.’

‘So you think the state should be his guardian?’

The social worker’s face hardened. Karin had guessed her age at mid twenties, but her wrinkles – and the lightness, and thinness of her hair – now Karin was having second thoughts.

‘If he becomes a ward of the state, he will be given as much treatment as we have to try to make him as functional, and as self-sufficient as possible. There’s a possibility he will eventually gain some agency. If we were to send him back to those people…’

Karin shrugged. ‘What do you think would happen?’

‘I don’t want to think about it.’ Karin turned around and looked at Elias. His tiny head began to rock back and forth, at first slowly, but then faster, and faster. The social worker put her drink down. ‘I’ve got to go. I hope that you take the case,’ she said, and then rushed over. Karin let herself out. She went back to Oskar and told him she would take the case.
Continent of Dreams - Official Questers Canon Compendium

[Tue 22:53:29] <colo> holy shit you are the fucking worst guy

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Re: Flair

Postby Questers » Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:29 pm

March 19, Morning

Karin stood up. There were what, four people in the room? It seemed silly to have such formality. Judges would always be judges, she guessed. “My Lordship. The Office of the Public Guardian believes that the subject – Child F – should be placed under the stewardship of the Public Guardian until the Public Guardian believes he has sufficient agency to act for himself.”

“I have read these files, Mrs Hagen. Your application seems to have taken into consideration the best welfare of the child. You, however, have not balanced the public interest. The cost of this is going to be immense. We are obliged to provide, but we are not obliged to provide at any cost.”

Karin could hear Oskar chewing a breath mint behind her. “My Lordship. There is no question the process will be expensive. We have submitted the list of approximate lifetime costs in our portfolio. However, we also submit that even if a family could be found for Child F, the cost of his required care would not be affordable. The average Regener family earns 105,000 guilders per year before tax. The annual cost of Child F’s care is estimated to be twice that.”

“Mrs Hagen, the numbers are not that important. What is important –“

“And while he remains in limbo, his state deteriorates.”

“You will not interrupt me again, Mrs Hagen, or I will have you removed from this room.”

Karin said nothing. “My apologies, My Lordship,” Oskar whispered behind her.

“My apologies, My Lordship.”

“Your portfolio says the child will be placed in the Observatory Gardens facility. Does the State not recall the troubles faced by this facility recently?”

“If Your Lordship is referring to the cases of abuse found at Observatory Gardens, then that matter has been dealt with sufficiently – by the courts, in fact – and should not be a factor in this case.”

“Well. Furthermore, I put it to you that it is highly possible – you admit this yourself in your portfolio – that Child F never acquires full adult agency, even with all the care the state can provide. In this case, I consider that it is manifestly better for him to be with his family. Religious considerations aside.”

“Religion lies at the centre of the matter. If it pleases Your Lordship, the State can continue along this line of reasoning.”

She could feel Oskar smiling. Oskar knew the mind – and the heart – of every Erinsburg justice. The benefits of having gray hair was how he described it.

“It does please me. You may continue.”

“Child F is a child of the Church. He has been baptised into the Regener Oswinite Church. It is deeply inappropriate for him to be placed in the care of his extended family, who have rejected him based on his faith. It is deeply troubling that the organs of the state would place the care of a vulnerable Oswinite child in the hands of…” Karin had nothing more to say. It had come out too fast.

“Yes,” the judge replied, “This is an interesting line of reasoning. Mrs Hagen, I will approve your request for state stewardship, but on these grounds only: the child will be immediately be placed into care, and this court will receive regular updates on his progress, and if he progresses to the point that care becomes less expensive, or no longer useful, he must be put up for adoption into an Oswinite family. Perhaps not even a Regener one. There are families in Quiberon or Fanta who would take him. Does the Public Guardian recognise these conditions?”

The social worker in the corner stood. “These conditions please us greatly My Lord.”

“Very well. Will the bailiff of the court please instruct the local sheriff to transfer the custody of Child F from his present abode to the facility nominated by the Office of the Public Guardian and to transfer legal responsibility of custody and guardianhood…”

Karin zoned out then, and let out a little squeal.

March 19, Evening

The bar was one of hundreds that had popped up in every town and city of the islands in the past few years. Every one was the same inside; the same menus, the same faux-clean wood and metal tables and bar, the same crappy posters offering pithy and useless advice on life, the same pitchers of classic cocktails given new and shitty names by an Erinsburg public relations firm. Tobias had to feign surprise when thirty members of his team just happened to be there, and had to feign happiness when they all shouted Congratulations! far too loudly.

Sending a double homicide down? That was something to celebrate, no? Something worth having a shot over, no? There’s work tomorrow, of course, so – it has to be something light, plastic-coloured liqueurs, five for twenty guilders.

Tobias slipped out when nobody was noticing. He walked four hundred yards to another block and opened what looked like a fire door, walked two flights of stairs down, and breathed in acrid cigarette smoke. There he was.

“Erik,” Tobias said, and sat down. “Buy you a drink?”

“Oh, hello,” Erik said. “Long time no see. How did you know I was going to be here?”

“A guess,” Tobias said.

“Let me give you some advice. Oskonners drink at two kinds of places. Sky bars, and places that don’t legally exist – like this.” He laughed. “Can I help you with something?”

“Actually, yes. The double murder in the Vajat.”

“Oh. The one you solved, huh? I thought you would know more about that than me.”

Tobias ran his hand through his hair and stopped while the bartender pinged open two beers. He lay the bottles on beermats. “Don’t tell anyone about us,” the beermats said, quite explicitly.

When the bartender had gone, Tobias continued. “It’s bullshit. The guy was waiting for us when came to get him. The only thing that connects him to the crime is a bit of hair, a bit of blood. He’s got an alibi, I’m sure. The charges won’t stick. The real murderer is probably out of the country by now. And anyway, the Wolo drug gangs don’t kill like that. They do it in public, and its much bloodier. And they don’t leave any survivors.”

“What are you saying here? You think we bumped off two druggies and left their spacker kid in police custody? Not really Oskon’s style, Tobias.”

“How do you know about that?”

“Don’t be suspicious. I know everything. Er, we know everything.”

“None of it makes sense to me.”

“Show me,” Erik said, and held his hand out. Tobias passed his mobile phone over and Erik flicked through pictures, his lips and eyes and eyebrows moving up and left and right and down as if he was looking at someone’s holiday or new girlfriend or Sporting Reteland’s ninety-five minute penalty kick.

“Yeah,” Erik said. “Do your people really think this is a gang killing? One shot to the temple each? I guess you didn’t find the brass, either.”

“They just want to get someone. I think when the case collapses, they’ll reopen the investigation.”

“But you think the tracks will be covered by then. Ok. I’m going over to the station at the embassy in Onpahanvaanlampi next week. Come with me and I’ll show you something.”

“I’m always surprised they let us keep an embassy with a station there.”

“Well, they have one here. And anyway, it’s somewhere for them to stage protests. Either way, this is going to cost you.”

“I know. There are three protected witnesses that I know Oskon want to get their hands on. Addresses.”

Erik whistled. “Woah. That is soo-oo illegal. I love it. We will pick you up on Friday morning. You go back on Monday. Be ready for us. Now, if you don’t mind, I have something to attend to.” Erik rolled his eyes over to the corner where two blondes were sitting drinking cocktails out of fishbowls. “You’re welcome to join me – but no business.”

“I’m fine,” Tobias said. “See you on Friday.”
Continent of Dreams - Official Questers Canon Compendium

[Tue 22:53:29] <colo> holy shit you are the fucking worst guy

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Questers
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Re: Flair

Postby Questers » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:54 pm

March 20

‘Look,’ Pieter said, leaning over his knees. The beer can almost clattered to the floor. ‘Penalty! Karin, look. There’s a penalty.’

Karin was trying to spoon handfuls of apple mix into Dag’s mouth. He was resisting.

‘Karin!’

She didn’t turn around. ‘Oh wow,’ she said.

‘Stupid commentary. Did you see that? Of course that should be penalty. Mikkelsen nearly killed Bergkamp. Should be a red card.’ Pieter was not to be taken lightly on this matter. ‘Mockery that that isn’t a red card. Did you see that Karin?’

No sooner had Dag taken his first bite of apple mix did Karin’s phone beep. It was Oskar.

‘I have to go. It’s really urgent. Work thing. Make sure you feed Dag.’

‘What? Now? Why? It’s nearly nine.’

‘It’s urgent. Make sure you feed Dag.’ She was putting her heels on.

Pieter had Dag in his arms. Apple mix dribbled down his chin. ‘Okay. Well, text me.’ As she closed the door behind her, she could hear Pieter shouting. ‘Did you see that son! Cool as a Wolo on smack. Quarter finals here we come! Allez-allez-allez…’ Karin could not tell whether Dag was shouting with anger or joy. As she took the lift down, she realised it didn’t really matter. Pieter would feed Dag, sooner or later. Pieter’s father had dipped his pacifier in brandy when he was Dag’s age, and he had turned out alright.

She found Oskar in the office, alone, with brandy. ‘No, it’s not for you,’ Oskar said. ‘This is very fine stuff. Quiberics. Oh! What a world it must be to not have to live side by side with all of God’s creatures.’

‘What happened?’

‘Child F – the boy, remember? Looks like his family has had a change of heart. Never seen that before!’ Oskar had a signature move, which was to lean back slowly in his chair, always used to break news or to ruminate. Sober, it was a practiced performance, but tonight, he nearly slipped. ‘They have put in a request for custody of the boy. According to their lawyer, the government’s facility more or less doesn’t help anyone anyway, and Child F is going to die soon anyway, and will never have a good life anyway, and is a spastic anyway so why bother, so he should be with his family, where they can take him to fish scale licking contests, where he no doubt would find satisfaction.’

‘But –‘

‘Since the papers haven’t actually been signed for the boy’s custody yet, they’re saying that his presence in Observatory Gardens is actually illegal detention. They’re filing for immediate release and custody of him. Once they get it, which they will, because that’s the law, it’s going to be impossible to pry him out of their hands.’

‘There must be something we can do.’

Oskar ran a hand down his face. ‘Well, I just found out, so let’s brainstorm. If the papers haven’t been signed for his custody, that means that he was being held temporarily by the state. His legal guardian should have automatically defaulted to his family, but it rejected to the state since they didn’t want him. But since they have changed their mind before the permanent paperwork for custody was done, it reverts to them.’

They both sat in silence for a moment.

‘We have one option.’ Karin shrugged. ‘It’s a big question mark. But we have to try.’

March 21


The court was now much larger. Not only was a whole legal team present to speak for the Koskinen family, the whole family – thirty persons, at least – were sat there, from young to elderly. Karin and Oskar listened in silence as their lawyers made the case for custody. Finally, it was Karin’s turn.

‘Your Lordship, the Office of the Public Guardian accepts all the legal claims of the Koskinen family.’

‘Very well.’

‘If it pleases your Lordship, we would like to make an alternative claim.’

‘It would please the Court.’

‘In that case, the Public Guardian submits to the court the rationale for its existence, which was approved, edited, and submitted in fact by the Court when it was established. The remit, and rationale, of the Public Guardian is to ensure that vulnerable persons who are unable to make their own decisions can be safety with a means to eventually developing them into functional persons.’

‘You do not need to cite this to me. I am aware of it, Mrs Hagen.’

‘My apologises, my Lord. I will advance to the matter. The Office of the Public Guardian submits to the court that placing Child F in the custody of the Hoskinen family poses an immediate physical danger to the child. The Public Guardian therefore has a duty to intervene.’

‘On what grounds?’

Karin was content to know Oskar was behind her. His presence was not always calming, but it was always consistent. If Oskar had said this was what they should do yesterday, he still believed it right up until the moment.

‘My Lord, the Public Guardian submits that a mentally and physically disabled child who has been baptised into the Oswinite Church is manifestly in danger when placed in the custody of … other religious faiths.’

‘This is a very tenuous line of reasoning, Mrs Hagen. I assume you will continue.’ She was going to continue, until the Hoskinen family – and their lawyers – stood up, Elias’ uncle first, and walked out of the room, one by one, their shoes knocking against the cold floor until they had finally all left. Neither Karin nor Oskar said anything. The judge leaned back and folded his arms. ‘Your line of reasoning is pre-evident before any person outside of these walls, Mrs Hagen,’ the judge continued, ‘But before the law, it is insufficient. However, seeing that Mr Hoskinen has walked out of this place, I will grant you what you want – temporarily. The Child will stay in Observatory Gardens. But both parties will re-assemble here next week, with fully prepared briefs. I will not have this court looking like a university moot again. Is that clear?’

‘Very clear, My Lord,’ Karin said.

‘Then go. There was no justice done here today,’ the judge said. ‘Next time must be different.’
Continent of Dreams - Official Questers Canon Compendium

[Tue 22:53:29] <colo> holy shit you are the fucking worst guy


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